Today I learned

There’s something about driving my Miata in the Austin fall. Clearly it helps that the temperatures are between 20 and 30 degrees Centigrade and I can drive with the top down, working on my red neck. The top has to be down as it’s ripped, and also because the AC doesn’t cool much.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the vapid driving available from the Prius. I like the convenience. You just get in and touch a button and it goes. A key is not needed, and my phone connects magically and I can talk with my hands virtually redundant. There are cameras and touch screens to control everything if I can be bothered to touch anything. It’s very easy.

The Miata, being old enough to drink, even in the US of A, has no such conveniences, but it does offer simplicity. You do have to dig a key, the right key, out of your pocket, and turn it in several places to get things started. But there’s no distractions. I never use the radio / CD player as it’s always locked away in the glove box. There are less distractions – I couldn’t talk on the phone if I wanted to – too windy and loud. And that’s a good thing. I can’t take calls and text and navigate and tweet as I drive. I just drive, and that’s enough.

Today I learned that even if you try to insert a modern convenience in the 1990 NA MX5 Miata, you get chided for doing so. Specifically, wedging my iPhone in the instruments, daringly covering up the oil pressure gauge, and using it as a GPS. I learned that if you get it just write, all that is obscured is one gauge. If you get it wrong, as I did, you lock the steering wheel from being able to turn. Quite a scary thing to discover as you try to take a turn from an access road at speed. Panicking and following an uncannily straight line, I yanked on the diminutive steering wheel, eager to turn right. The curved plastic shroud over the instruments exploded into pieces engulfing my iPhone. At first I thought it was my phone that exploded, but as I pulled over, I saw it had jammed against the steering wheel, and forced the plastic to shatter, dropping unharmed to the floor.

Still, it gave me the willies. And now I’ve removed the damaged vinyl carcass, saving weight for my next timed run on the dinolicious app.

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